By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes
The doctor is in the car.
Bud Pierce, a longtime medical cancer doctor and 2016 candidate for Oregon governor, has been named grand marshal of the Dec. 12 Festival of Lights Holiday Parade in Keizer.
Next Saturday’s 7 p.m. parade down River Road isn’t just a normal event: this is the 25th anniversary of the nighttime parade, which started in Salem and moved to Keizer in 2011. The theme of this year’s parade, appropriately enough, is Silver Bells.
With the parade being at night and in mid-December, the potential always exists for a cold and/or wet night. Pierce hails from Southern California and earned both his medical degree and completed his residency in fellowship training at the University of California Los Angeles. So is the potential weather an issue?
“I’m an Oregonian now,” Pierce said with a laugh. “Twenty years ago when I came up from California, maybe it would have been a problem. Now I’ve got the gear and the experience. I’ll be ready to rumble.”
Pierce declined an offer to remain at UCLA and moved with wife Selma to Salem to begin a career in private practice oncology. He practices at Hematology Oncology of Salem and has also volunteered at Oregon Health and Sciences University for the past 20 years as a clinical assistant professor. He is board certified in internal medicine, medical oncology and hematology.
Over the years, Pierce has been part of a number of organizations, professional and community alike. In 2009 he received the American Cancer Society’s Community Leadership Award.
Cheryl Mitchell, CEO of the parade, noted Pierce was one of five nominees for grand marshal.
“We’re thrilled to have him,” Mitchell said. “Bud and his wife have done so much for the community.”
Pierce expressed surprise at being named grand marshal.
“It’s a great honor,” he said. “It’s a once in a lifetime honor. It’s a surprise. I’m happy to have the chance to do it. I don’t know why I got the honor. I was very surprised to get the call. They asked if I wanted to do it, I said that would be great. You try to work hard and be a good citizen. This was completely unexpected.”
Pierce said helping out the community comes naturally.
“I’ve been blessed with some talent, a lot of energy and great health,” he said. “Life broke my way. I’ve had material success, but it’s just temporary. It really feels good and makes your life more rich to contribute to not just other people, but to other people’s causes. I like to get involved with charitable causes. It’s neat to support other people and their dreams. If life breaks your way and you have resources, you need to get them out of your hands and help others.”
Pierce, married to Selma for 34 years, has been caring for patients in the Salem/Keizer area for more than 20 years. The couple has contributed to projects such as the Salvation Army Kroc Center, Cancer Awareness Weekend at Volcanoes Stadium and the OHSU Knight Cancer Challenge, among others.
Pierce has been to the Festival of Lights Holiday Parade exactly once before, but is looking forward to cruising down River Road in a convertible.
“I’m looking forward to just going through it,” he said. “A night parade sounds really cool and interesting. It will be exciting to be a participant. I went to the Rose Parade once in Southern California. It was such a cool experience. It will be exciting. I just hope it’s not pouring rain.”
Before the parade, the 5K Glow Run celebration kicks off at 3 p.m. at Columbia Bank, located at River and Manbrin Drive. The 5K Glow Run starts at 6 p.m., followed by the parade. After 3, traffic will only be able to cross River Road along the parade route at Chemawa Road.
Following the parade, winning entries will be at Skyline Ford for the After Glow awards celebration.
For more information on the parade, visit www.folholidayparade.org or see the Keizertimes’ holiday guide, which has information about all of the holiday events taking place in town and around the entire area.
Extra copies of the guide, which went to all Keizer households, are available at the Keizertimes office, located at 142 Chemawa Road N.